Published on September 2nd, 2014 | by Jos Roder


Returning To Battle

It was nearly one year ago that I last drove the Drift Life 180sx or ‘Mr Sparkle’ in anger.

Knowing I would be drifting in Japan for a week in April this year and for my bank balance’s sake, I opted out of drifting in Australia this year. Until now!

This weekend, I will compete in the Victorian Drift Club’s Saturday ‘Run The Wall‘ practice day and Round 5 of the Road King Chassis Victorian Drift Championship on Sunday. The scene is Calder Park Raceway.

But before a weekend of drift could take place, I needed to give my old friend a freshen up.

The car has been sitting out in the elements for a full year and was only started once a month to keep the battery going and everything ticking over.

Recently on one of my monthly warm up’s I smelt something a little nutty. It turns out that coil packs on SR20’s are the perfect spot for a nut fest if you are a mouse . I’m thinking mouse, but I’m not 100%. Any other ideas?

I had a shopping list of things that needed fixing before I could drift again. Luckily my friend Waz at Garage Low is a good bloke and always up for some drift repair adventures.

My list included

– Dump to turbo gasket repair and new studs

– New rear camber arms fitment

– Punch out dent from a previous event

– make new exhaust hangers and re mount exhaust properly.

– stitch pieces of rear bar together

– alignment

– new tyres

Luckily Waz has access to a hoist and the car was quickly being worked on from all angles. It was a Saturday night, but with the music pumping and some dinner KFC delivery thanks to my wife, we were committed to getting the job done.

I made myself useful by repairing the rear bar while Waz did some welding.

I then installed the Camber arms. I really needed an aftermarket set as as my right hand rear wheel did not have enough standard camber to make the tyre sit flat, which was wearing out my tyre too quickly.

While working on the dump pipe and after a few mutterings, Waz told me that three of the studs were seized in the turbo and his ‘ezyout’ attempts had not been successful.

We weighed up the options and I decided that we would just bolt the two other studs back up and tack weld the dump pipe to the turbo.  The turbo is only a T25 so I am not worried about it.

After this was solved, Waz re mounted the exhaust and expertly added a new hanger to give the system more strength.

Using some hydraulic ram’s we were able to roughly push the rear quarter back into shape, which is a good start. A lick of paint and it will look respectable again.

Finishing about midnight we had succeeded in our goals and the only things remaining were an alignment and tyres.

The following Saturday I was awake early so I could take the car for an alignment. The top secret alignment specs I ordered were


Toe: 1mm (2mm total)

Camber: -1.5 deg

Caster 6.5deg

Unfortunately the camber could not be increased on the left side more than 1.5 degree’s so I decided to to even up everything to that limitation on the left side.


Camber: 0 degrees

Toe: 0mm

The next step was tyres. I am proud to say after over a decade of watching and only lightly assisting on tyre machines, I finally had the opportunity to get my hands dirty and properly learn the techniques myself. No matter how much you watch, it seems to be one of those things you have to do yourself to really understand.

I feel like I am the official tyre tester for Motor Magazine’s annual tyre test. I will be running/testing the following brands and sizes of tyres this weekend.

– Jinyu 215/45/17’s

– A combination of a Rapid 215/45/17 on one side and on the other side an Ovation 215/45/17

– Triangle 195/60/15’s

– AVS Tyre 195/60/15’s

This selection of tyres should cover the weekend’s fun considering the lower power output the car runs.

The last time I was at Calder Park things got a little loose.

I am hoping thing’s don’t get quite that loose this time, however  I am excited at the prospect of returning to the track for some fun times with friends.

Thanks must go to the support of my sponsor Vinny’s Parts who continues to assist in my drifting endeavours and has access to a great range of parts at great prices. Also a big thanks goes to Waz who continues to keep Mr Sparkle on track.

If you are at Calder Park this weekend, please come and say hello!




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About the Author

Jos Roder

is the owner of Drift Life and delves deeper into drifting culture. Jos started drifting more than 10 years ago after discovering a sport existed that captured his favourite motoring endeavour, going sideways! Jos works full-time in the automotive/motorsport field as a PR Manager and Advanced Driving Instructor and currently owns a JDM S15 Nissan Silvia for drift/track/hillclimb duties.

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  1. Pingback: Drift Life | Delving deeper into the Australian Drift World

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